THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A number of issues, from the fifth Minister of the IUML to horse-trading of MLAs, will come up during the campaign at Neyyattinkara, which is heading to the poll booth on June 2. Among other issues, the lethargic attitude of the authorities in the development of the Karamana-Kaliyikkavila stretch of the National Highway will be a major campaign issue that will put both the UDF and LDF camps in a Catch-22 situation.
The foundation stone was laid for the widening of the National Highway connecting Karamana and Kaliyikkavila in November 2010. The demarcation works soon came to halt following protests against land acquisition. Though so may agitations took place in the past one-and-a-half years demanding the development of the stretch, nothing happened.
Recently, MLAs of Nemom, Kovalam, Kattakkada, Neyyattinkara and Parassala formed a consensus on the alignment. The revised alignment was released, but the roadblock has not been removed yet.
Taking the leverage of election, the National Highway Action Council organised a mass agitation at Neyyattinkara bus stand on Friday.
When asked about the action council’s stand on the candidates, its secretary Mannankal Ramachandran said the council did not support any particular party. “BJP leader O Rajagopal was very supportive and was a part of agitations organised by the action council in the past. R Selvaraj, though his party was not cooperative, stood by us. F Lawrence is a relatively a new person,” he said.
The action council is also planning to arrange a meet-the-candidate programme to know about their stand on the NH-widening issue.
A major portion of the NH passes through Neyyattinkara, which makes the issue a major one for the constituency. The stretch from Vazhimukku to Kaliyikkavila, the development of which is planned in the second phase, is in the Neyyattinkara constituency.
The proposal was to develop the 30-km NH connecting Karamana to Kaliyikkavila into a four-lane road at a width of 30.2 m. Of this stretch, the first phase will cover almost 12 km, from Karamana to Vazhimukku.